Greening the Waterfront – The Spectacular Vancouver Convention Center

Vancouver Convention CenterIf you happen to be in Vancouver these coming days, do visit the long-awaited and spectacular new addition of Centre West, at the Vancouver Convention Center.   The city’s latest flagship eco-development triples the total square footage and functional capacity of the Centre and completes the development of the public realm. With 6 acres of green roof it boasts the largest in Canada, and the largest non-industrial green roof in North America. This combined with many other eco-measures is set to help the project achieve LEED Canada Gold certification.VCC2

The project consists of 1.2 million sq ft divided into exhibition space, meeting rooms, 90,000 sq ft of retail space, a 55,000 sq ft ballroom and 400,000 sq ft of public realm including walkways and bikeways. All in, the project promises to be “a celebration of people and place and a model of sustainability”.

Architects LMN worked in collaboration with Vancouver-based Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership and DA Architects & Planners to design the centre which will be used as a hub to support 7,000 media during the XXI Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games.

But not suffice to support homosapiens, a key element of the design was the restoration of the shoreline and marine habitat. vccepmarinE

Having worked with marine scientists, an underwater habitat skirt or artificial reef was developed as part of the centre’s foundation and now provides new habitat for barnacles, mussels, seaweed, starfish, crabs and various fish species. The green roof too is home to 400,000 indigenous plants and grasses, providing natural habitat to birds, insects and small mammals. But it will also provide vital insulation for the building.

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Other eco-measures include black water treatment and desalinization, a heat pump system that takes advantage of the constant temperature of adjacent seawater, extensive use of controlled daylighting and energy efficient fixtures. The water management plan is expected to reduce potable water use  by 60-70%.

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Local materials including locally harvested Douglas fir and Hemlock have been used for wood finishes reducing the harmful effects of transportation on the environment.

Vancouver is a mixed bag of spectacular natural environment with an impressive urban core. This latest addition attempts to blend the two and create a synergy, acting as a powerful visual ambassador of the Pacific Northwest region’s commitment to sustainability.

Credits: WAN, LMN, Vancouver Convention Center

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